Chapter 07: Night is Coming Closer
Day XXX – 13:34
The wind blew on the open field easing the scorching heat of the sun. He steadied his breathing in a deep and inhale and exhales. Taking a look at the firm ground below him, he glanced at the finish line behind, he exhaled a big amount of air and taking out his nervousness at the same time.
Today was a holiday, and there were almost no people present in the school. However, on the athletic field where Roku stood, there were without a doubt a three other people.
Standing on starting line was the abnormality of the school, Natsuki Namie. Her red hair blazing even further emanating a pressure that she would today again win. Her eyes, even though possessing the same color, seemed nothing of sort. She was looking ahead, darting her eyes sometimes somewhere on the field without a hint of concern to the person on her right, who was completely glaring at her.
That person was not Roku.
Roku stood on the leftmost side of the starting line, on the center was Namie, and on the leftmost side was Himeka, who was not hiding any of her hostility against the red-haired girl. She was stretching her feet, and arms, relaxing her shoulder and joints, all the while sneaking a glare here and then. Himeka then took a good step, planted her foot to the ground and then wiped the sweat budding on her forehead. She smiled.
Today, she insisted that she would join the battle again and claimed that she would beat Namie.
Roku had no problem with her joining their usual battles and in the first place, it was him who notified her about this battle when they accidentally passed each other on the hallway few days ago. Himeka wanted to compete too, and she deemed Namie as her rival the way Roku did. He could understand the feeling of wanting to beat the unbeatable.
"Natsuki Namie, today is the day you'll lose!" Himeka declared, pointing a finger at her.
In response, Namie just looked at her with her grin, as she raised her chin a little bit upward as if to look down on her. "You're free to defeat me."
Himeka stared at her, expecting the monster's taunt soon. Roku was only listening but he could already predict what's going to come out of Namie's mouth.
"If you can, that is."
"That's what I'm hoping for!" Himeka didn't falter and answered resolutely.
The girl with superhuman tendencies along with her haughty attitude was, in Roku's eyes a perfect match. At that time, Hachi, his best friend alongside the lanes and stopped when he was ahead, enough to be seen by the three participants.
"Okay. I'm going to explain the rules," Hachi started. "You will circle the school looking for three headbands, each in different locations. By headbands, I mean a long strip of cloth not an actual headband that girls use so remember that. Continuing, the first headband is on the school's front yard, the second is on the pool. As for the third one, its location will be only reveled once you've completely circled the school and reached this field. The winning condition is that you have to possess all the three headbands as you cross the finish line behind you. Any questions?"
"Isn't Roku who set up this whole thing in advantage? He knows precisely the locations of all the headbands, right?" Namie asked Hachi, and then threw a glance at Roku. "Not like he'll win anyway so it doesn't really matter."
The blue-haired teen in question didn't look surprised. This contest would never come into fruition unless Namie agree with the terms, so Roku made the rules in expectation that she would accept.
Hachi looked at the three of them and concluding that there were no more inquiries, he spoke, "On your positions."
Namie finally got into position to run. It was not a crouching start, she just slightly bent her body forward. On the other hand, Roku and Himeka both took a proper stance, crouched and planted their feet on the ground. The one with the highest winning percentage would be always Namie, but the one who had cheats was Roku. He had fair chance of winning.
"Ready!" Hachi prompted.
Roku let out a breath and then inhaled.
Immediately as the word was uttered, the boy kicked the ground and dashed forward, passed the blonde acting as the referee, and then sped up. Three people started running through the field.
One person took the lead immediately. It was not Roku, neither was Namie.
At the summer break of their first year of high school, the girl who had the fastest acceleration and still accelerating was the contest's irregular, Ogasawara Himeka.
Day 002 – 18:03
Roku exited the tent limp, strength had left him just a moment ago. He had been body checked and although he firmly covered his most important part by his two hands, he had been basically been "touched" on most places.
Outside, in front of the evacuation center's gate, Hoshimi and Hachi were waiting for him. The two approached him, the girl looking at him worriedly while is partner was grinning at him. "Well, how is it, Roku? It's goddamned feels so amazing that you never want to experience it again, right?"
"Yeah… The feeling is still in his body," said Roku uncomfortably. He glanced at Hoshimi and then continued asking, "More importantly, they did not do anything wrong with Hoshimi, did they?"
Hoshimi shook her head with a delighted face. "Mmm-hmm. The beautiful lady was really nice to me."
"I see," Roku patted her head.
"Right then, we should enter now," Hachi said.
"Yeah, let's go."
Roku and the two entered the gate. The evacuation center was a two-story building. The ground floor was elevated around at least a meter above the ground for flood measures and the path leading to the building was a ramp instead of stairs.
Roku went inside the entrance and saw the tents lined up to one another. The evacuation center seemed to be designed more to be able to accommodate a large number of people and so it resulted with an open hall like this. If he would describe it would be more of a gymnasium rather than a proper evacuation center. The ceilings were also high that even if Roku doubled his height and jumped, he wouldn't be able to reach it. Before he could examine further, a person called out to him.
"Are you people new here?" A woman wearing a uniform of gray upper clothes and pants asked them. She was sitting in front of a table just beside the entrance. Even without confirming, Roku could tell the person was one of the people managing this evacuation center.
"Yes ma'am, we just arrived few minutes ago," Hachi answered.
The woman smiled at them. "I thought I haven't seen your faces, so that's why. Is one of you her big brother?" she asked, glancing at Hoshimi, who was looking around restlessly.
"No, we're actually looking for her big sister, we think she's in this evacuation center," Roku said.
"Oh." The woman looked at her right and then took a megaphone and then handed it to Roku. "Use this to call for her as you go around."
"…Is it okay to speak loud?" he asked, noting that the gymnasium was filled with noises due to people talking about different subjects but the accumulated sound is not loud enough reach beyond the wire barriers nor even the wall surrounding the building.
"So long as you're not loud enough." The woman next stood from her seat and took two from the blankets piled behind her. "Sorry but you boys will have to share the same blanket. And the other one would be for her and her sister."
"It's fine. We understand."
"We didn't bring anything with us so we're grateful for any help," Hachi added before he bowed.
"Good then. Look through the tents and take one that is empty."
"Can we pick any tent?"
"Ah no. See the farthest tents from here? All of those have evacuees inside. What I mean is that you will take an empty tent next to a tent that already have a person."
"I see. Thank you, ma'am. We'll return the megaphonelater."
The trio walked over the aisle. There were two columns of tents on each side while the aisle was in-between. There were several evacuees that they passed with varying ages. There were also students from a nearby high school and they saw one that have a uniform of a teacher. What Roku didn't see much were children like Hoshimi. So far, there was only one.
It might be that they were only staying inside the tents but Roku find this situation making sense. After all, children and the old had the lowest chance of surviving.
"These tents serves only as divider. There's not that much privacy," Hachi muttered as they walked in the aisle, looking left and right. The tent was square shaped with walls on all sides just high enough to cover Roku's chest. It has no cover on the top so passing people could take a peek whenever they want. Hachi had a point.
They hadn't reached the tents yet where people currently reside, all of the tents they passed were blank.
"Yeah." Roku held Hoshimi on the head and shuffled her hair, causing her to create cute complaining sounds. He glanced at Hoshimi and then to Hachi. "Girls would probably need to go to the toilet to change their clothes. We're lucky to be born as a dude."
"You're really saying that while doing that to a little girl?" Hachi asked in disbelief. "And it's not like you're gonna commando inside that exposed tent as well, would you?"
"Fair point. But at least we could remove our upper clothes."
"Mmm! Girls are lucky to be born as girls too, Onii-san," Hoshimi complained, pouting as she removed Roku's hands on her head. "Sissy said that we could give birth while boys will never do."
"H-hey. Wait wait. You're too young to say that. That topic's not for you yet," Roku immediately said. "And if we're going at that logic, Hoshimi, boys could also do things girls would never be able to."
"No way!" Hoshimi exclaimed. "Then tell me."
"For example…" Roku thought, We have that, we can do that, we can release that…
—Roku shook his head vehemently to stop his dirty thought process.
"…For example, yes! We can wear boyish clothes. Without looking weird, that is. Girls will look weird if they wear boy's clothes right?"
"Silly, Onii-san. It's the same with girls, you know," she simply said.
"Y-yeah." At any case, it was a relief that Roku didn't had to say the things he really thought.
"Pres talks about something like that? Hmmm. He-he." But it seems that his best friend, Hachi was openly thinking about such things right now as he could tell by his face. Roku let out a sigh.
Soon after that, they saw residents inside a tent so they entered one next to it and set down their bag and blanket. "So next would be to use this megaphoneand ask, right? Let me do it," Hachi said as they went outside their tent.
Roku looked around in response to Hachi. The evacuees, and personnel both of military and the evacuation center walked here and there attending to their own business. He could see the evacuees going out the entrance, and he even saw them outside the building earlier. Roku could assume from this that they had certain freedom given to them.
Fairly convinced, he turned again to his friend. "Yeah. I will look around. We'll meet up again here."
"Goodluck," Hachi said and then turned around with Hoshimi following after him and the Megaphone on his other hand.
"Now then." Roku looked up at the ceilings and the window on the walls. The window was glass but even if it was opened, it was blocked with metal bars. It's not passable.
"Kuribayashi Senri, please show us yourself if you can hear me. I am with your little sister. I repeat, Kuribayashi Senri, I am with your little sister."
As Roku went around inside the building, he could hear Hachi calling out. It was his second time now. The blue-haired teen walked further and he saw the restrooms on the west wall sides. Curious, he went inside to check.
The male's restroom consist of six lined up urinal and six toilets on both sides plus near the entrance. There was one person man currently urinating so Roku pretended to do the same on one of the urinals. He waited patiently for the man to finish and leave before he would continue to check the place.
Once the man was gone, Roku slowly turned the knob of the toilets one by one and he confirmed that there were no more people present. On a side note, there was shower attached above at the walls inside the toilet. Next after checking the last of the toilets, he lifted up his vision to look through the window above. It was covered with glass. He jumped few times to confirm that there were no bars unlike the windows in the hall. This one could be used as an escape route.
"What are you doing?" A voice called out behind him.
Crap… Slowly, he turned around while thinking of an excuse. To his surprise, it was someone in their grade, Shindou Hikaru looking at him with a surprised face.
"…Aren't you Asagami-kun? It is you! So you managed to escape as well," Hikaru said letting out a smile as he tapped on Roku's shoulder. "It's good to see you're safe."
Hikaru was someone didn't really like. He has handsome face, tall and has a good style, ace of the soccer team, friendly, and according to the girls and to himself, he has no girlfriend, making him even attracting girls even more. Nakayama Goudo, the information broker of the school said the Hikaru had few relationships in the past but there were no cases of womanizing.
Indeed, Roku disliked him for being too popular, but the main cause is how he's overly friendly. Even though it was that case, Roku needed to return the greetings. "It's good to see you here too."
"I guess Kawamura is with you, right?"
"Yeah. He's somewhere in there."
"Come to our tent, we can share stories and other stuffs. We can play games too, I have my PSP with me."
"Maybe later." This response was mainly because he don't really like that idea.
"Oh right, what about Natsuki-san?"
"She's not with us."
"Oh I see. You three are always hanging around so I thought that maybe she's with you too," Hikaru said.
"Right." Roku thought of ending the conversation here so immediately added, "I have something to do so let's talk later again."
Roku walked away without looking back, thinking that it would not be practical to stay there any longer. He could not afford to stay at one place too long. He circled around the set of tents and made his way to the other wall, noting that they were identical.
On the right side of the evacuation center's building was the kitchen where the some people currently for dinner. Most of them were wearing the gray uniform but there were few civilians helping out as well. There were sets of doors behind them but seeing it from afar, Roku could tell that those were for staffs only. On the furthest corner was the ramp leading upward to the second floor.
Darting his eyes all around the hall, he then saw his familiar partner along with Hoshimi talking with someone who is none other than the person they've been looking for. She has a long blue hair like the sky, but instead of draping it down like usual, she tied in a ponytail. She wore the school's uniform and skirt. And her thighs were covered with black stockings. It was none other than Kuribayashi Senri, Nanba High School's current student council president and Hoshimi's elder sister.
Roku stared intently for few seconds as Hachi noticed him and called out. He approached Senri, noticing another of their classmates with her, named Ogasawara Himeka. She had a chest-length blonde hair, and as tall as Roku. She was said to be the richest person in their school and the reason why someone like her enrolled to Nanba High School, which was your run-off-the-mill academic institutions remained unclear still to this day.
It might be because of her upbringing that she acted arrogantly around most of the students that caused her to be hated sometimes, but she never discriminated anyone and the school was aware of that. She made friends with those she deemed acceptable but she was actually a good person who even offers help to anybody while saying the words like, "Peasants are so hopeless, let me help you."
That gap from her demeanor to actual character was what made her popular among boys who liked this kind of thing, and most of the students were already used to her behavior as well. Adding this character with her beautiful face, she gained one of the seats of their school's Top 5 Most Beautiful Girls. Of course, she was unaware of such ranking like the other rankers.
"Good to see you again, Asagami-san," she looked at Roku with her azure eyes and then curtsied. Indeed, despite just wearing her uniform, she always emits the vibe of a wealthy person. "I'm glad you didn't turn into those disgusting zombies but I guess it's only natural that you wouldn't."
"Likewise, Ogasawara-san. We were able to rendezvous with you and the president and you so I guess it's fairly a good day," Roku answered normally. "You can handle yourself as well so it's not that surprising that we would meet again though."
She was the all-rounder ace of the track and field; it was rumored that no matter what solo event she participates, she would win every time. Besides running, she was said to be good I basketball and tennis as well. One more person besides Namie who was good at many things.
On the same topic, she has few encounters with Namie. It might be wiser to call that she dislikes her. She had challenged Namie who was getting popular that time for being undefeatable in any sports. She admitted herself that she would lose in long distance events because of the superhuman's insane top speed so she challenged her in a 50 meter dash, which apparently her best shot but still lost.
She sometimes still competes with Namie though, and Roku was also present in those instances as another competitor. Basically, it was free for all. But there were two times they cooperated, bringing Namie into close battle.
In the end, they still lost.
"Well, it's only natural for me too, I guess," her response was arrogant but the way she looked right now at Roku didn't quite fit her statement. They were just more than acquaintances who helped each other sometimes, but the boy could tell she is fairly happy right now, seeing her soft expression. Why was that so?
"Asagami-san, thank you for bringing my little sister." Senri bowed her head and then smiled at him.
"It was only natural, but well, you're welcome," Roku replied. He glanced Hoshimi and smiled at the little girl obviously beaming hay as she held her sister's hands. Hachi was silently looking at him, waiting. "Um, Pres?"
"Senri's fine," she said.
"Okay then. Senri-san, can we talk in a more privately? I want to tell you something." Senri looked at him with a mild surprise and then she nodded seriously.
The group left the area where they were headed towards the tent where Roku and Hachi left their bag and blanket. They entered the tent one by one, Himeka went with them as well. Of course, Roku made her promise first before agreeing to tell her about their plan. Roku beckoned them to gather into a small circle and then she started to talk.
"So first of all," Roku spoke in a low voice. The tent was not covered so any passerby would still see them, but at the very least they would not be heard if they didn't raise their voices. "We heard from Kagamine-san that the evacuees aren't allowed to leave."
"Yes. That's right, I wanted to return to our house as soon as possible too but they wouldn't let me go," Senri replied. Hoshimi clung close to her and her big sister looked at her with a gentle gaze. "That's why I'm really glad that I get to see Hoshimi again."
"It kinda sucks really, being trapped here," Himeka said. She just stayed here since yesterday and she was complaining already. "And so? Why did you ask?"
Hachi was the one who answered this time as Roku was still thinking. He stated simply, "We plan to escape this place."
That statement gained a reaction from the two girls. Senri was taken at first then returned serious gradually. "I see… So you two came here to bring Hoshimi, after hearing that we're here from Kagamine, am I right?"
"Yeah. And so, we ask you, and…" Hachi glanced at Himeka for a bit. "And Himeka, if you'll gonna join us. Our original plan is to return to our respective homes. We already went into my house so next would be either Roku's or Ogasawara's house."
Hachi looked at Senri after his statements and the girl in question slowly shook her head. Apparently, Hachi had already told her what happened. "…Let me think," Senri replied, hesitantly.
"Me too." Himeka also went into deep thought for a moment. "By the way, when do you plan to escape?"
"Tonight, right partner?"
"Yeah. This time, time is essential so we should leave as early as we can." Roku answered.
"Tonight!?" Himeka let out a voice of surprise, barely managing to stifle her reaction. "Don't you think you two are being too hasty?"
"No. We concluded this after careful thinking so we won't change our plan, except if you two know something that could convince us to do otherwise," Roku said.
"If you're caught, they will surely won't let you off the hook easily. There's also the chance that they'll make an example out of you," Senri said, clearly worrying.
"They are also doing their patrols, and they have enough for night shifts," Himeka added.
"We have prepared for the consequences," the blonde stated. "Um… So what will it be?"
Senri pondered for a moment, her gaze alternating to Roku, Hachi and then Hoshimi. She settled on her little sister for a little while and then she answered. "Can you let me think for at least an hour?"
"No problem, Senri-san," Roku said as he stood up along with Hachi, who straightened his back. "We're going to check for possible escape routes at the mean time."
Himeka was still pondering but she suddenly stood and then muttered. "Okay, I have decided." She stared at Roku and then declared as she put one hand over her chest. "I will be going with you two. I don't want to stay here and I want to go to my house. I know few things around here. I'll be your guide."
Roku looked a little bit surprised as he looked at Hachi who also didn't expect this offer but he smiled after. Seeing that, Roku who had cooperated with Himeka before outstretched his right hand.
"Looking forward to cooperating again with you, Himeka-san."
Himeka smiled gently as she held Roku's took and shook it. "Me too, Roku-san."
Natsuki Namie walked alone in the sidewalk, noticing the streetlights lighting up on their own bringing a bit of illumination against the orange hue of the sunset on the ground.
She walked alone in the city, as if she did not care whether there were enemy right here and there. She ignored most of the zombies she saw, as those monsters only rely on sound, they would not be able to immediately flock on especially since they're slow.
Her only concern was that night was coming closer.
Roku and Hachi along with Senri and Hoshimi if they come with them would escape the evacuation center later. The rendezvous point for her and Roku and company would be the arcade nearby. She faced south where it could be found but then blinked once before looking at her left, which was the direction of the evacuation center. All the buildings or houses on this side of street had their entrances blocked, and the areas where one could enter were barricaded. The alleys were also in the same state.
They really did a thorough job, she thought. There were no more entrance for zombies except the gate on the road whom Roku, Hachi, and Hoshimi passed. The emergency ladder were also destroyed. She looked through these things even though Roku told her that she should wait at the arcade for them. However, she was not the type to do that, and never the type to leave everything on them when she could do something as well.
"Tsk." She involuntarily clicked her tongue as he faced her west this time and started walking. "That bastard Roku, I can understand that I am doing this job but Hachi could do this as well. I bet the main reason why they picked me was because they thought that it would be better if they were both trapped inside the evacuation center instead of me."
Those two always had done that. They relied on Namie on a lot of things but when things go south, they would at least let her get away or keep her away from danger. She noticed those two's idiocy. They act like men when it counts, but in the end, Namie would still save their butts.
Reminiscing those memories brought a smile on her lips.
"Leaving me out of trouble, huh?" She pondered and then stopped walking. Gripping on her bat, she suddenly swung it in a clockwise arc on her right as she rotated her body a bit in the same direction.
The zombie who was approaching her flew few meters away and landed on the asphalt with a good thud. The blood started spreading from its head to the ground.
"Kinda too late for that though," she whispered to no one as she glanced one place after another. She was currently on an intersection and, there were few zombies there as well who were slowly approaching due to the sound of the bat hitting the zombie and the ground.
She walked again. Namie wasn't even sure why she care for those two but she couldn't just leave them alone. That's why she would do her best to help them escape. And even if they fail, Namie would join them there to ruin their self-sacrificial act.
"I wonder what kind of face those two will show, when they see me there," she said as she giggled silently. "I would surprise them. Their idiotic faces would show again; that would be surely fun."
Namie swung her bat to rid the blood and then held it downwards. The city was silent and the crows were the only animals who were really making their annoying sounds at the moment.
She sighed, realizing that she was talking all by herself again. Really, it's not fun without those two.
Author's Note: First of all, would like to say that I'm sorry for not being able to update last month XD
Damn. After a whole two months without writing, I came back. But really, all I talk in these A/Ns is always my problems. And yes, here I am again to talk about this chapter XD. And also with some few observations. If you don't really care a bit about my annoying problems XD, you can just read the "story parts."
It was not my intention to add another potential heroine for Roku. Honestly, it was never my intention not until I started to describe Himeka. The idea for the short flashback scene at the start actually just popped up after writing her descriptions. I'll probably conclude that flashback on the next chapter, if not the next one after that.
I've also stated about the Top 5 most Beautiful Girls, Namie, Senri, Emi, and Himeka makes it four so we have only one more left. Dunno if that girl will really appear though. I think, and according to my preferences lol, she will make her appearance someday though.
Oh yeah, there weren't any good zombie encounters in the last two chapters, I think there weren't even any zombie last chapter. One more notable thing is that Day 002 is really eventful, don't you think? No? First time writing such a long day so it felt like I did an overkill with the amount of action they'd done this day so.
First time switching to Namie's Pov, and I might focus on Hachi somewhere in the future chapters too. These kind of switches tend to reveal some information on the characters so it'll give me opportunity to show how Hachi sees Roku and Namie as well.
Last, last night, I think, I managed to write more than a thousand words (My usual is 500 or less) in one sitting. It wasn't the first time though. The first time was with Kanagawa is Dying and then Ghost Girl, both which have a concrete outline in my head. However, on GG, I noticed that my speed made the quality drop and that I didn't even bother to change the parts which I could had. It was basically a binge writing. Although this time I think that the quality wasn't so bad, I still felt the same feeling.
There was also a part where I opened the laptop, but kept it open for 3 hours without writing anything. It's because I needed to research things beforehand lol. And moreover, excessive research sometimes doesn't really end up being written. One could say that I might be able to use it in the future but that's not really the case for me, unless they are really memorable, I end up forgetting most of my researches. Sometimes, I am only left with few vague information about the researches.
So what I'm saying here is that I have a really bad memory.
Roku to Hachi also involves a lot of thinking. Feck. Dunno how everyone manages to write their own story's complicated plots but in my case, it really takes me (again) a lot of time. The main example here is the escaping plan. How long would you take to think about that? In my case, it took me hours.
An important note: I don't know when will be the next update for this story as I'll be writing my Halloween Special again. Actually, this one doesn't have any Halloween elements, except that it kinda dark. At this point, writing a short story in November just became a rule or something like that which I set for myself.
Well then, see you again next time!